Scientists inch closer to having a universal cancer blood test

22 January, 2018, 02:31 | Author: Grady King
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The main aim of the blood test is to detect signs of cancer in those people who have not been previously diagnosed with cancer previously. CancerSEEK, is also far less invasive. In collaboration with Johns Hopkins, the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania has already begun to use CancerSEEK on blood samples from female volunteers between ages 65 and 75 who have never had cancer.

Their vision is an annual test created to catch cancer early and save lives.

One of the most important attributes of a screening test is the ability to detect cancers at relatively early stages, the author point out.

Using both ctDNA and protein results together increases the test's overall accuracy.

A portion of the blood tests at present used to analyze growth incorporate finish blood tally, blood protein testing, tumor marker tests, and flowing tumor cell tests. Pancreatic cancer, for instance, is often detected so late that four in five patients die in the year that they are diagnosed.

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He cautions that screening tests can sometimes harm rather than help. "The results are good enough to warrant the next step, which is to test this in a screening setting, meaning in thousands of individuals that actually do not have cancer and see really how well our test works".

The test, developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, is now being tested on 10,000 more people.

In some cases, the treatment may be worse than living with a cancer that is not immediately life-threatening. But this can come at significant physical and financial cost.

That's promising, Lennon said, because for any test to be useful for screening, its false-positive rate has to be low.

Such tests are particularly challenging: small tumours don't usually release as much DNA into the bloodstream as larger tumours. Crucially, it did so before the cancers had spread, giving patients the best chance of beating the disease.

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To zero in on the analytes they included in their CancerSEEK test, the research team pulled data from more than three decades of cancer genetics research generated at their Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins, where the first genetic blueprints for cancer were created, as well as data from many other institutions.

For example, if the pattern suggests a bowel cancer, then a colonoscopy is a logical next step. When 812 patients without cancer were also given this "liquid biopsy", only seven false positives (less than 1%) popped up. Do you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer? However, this is not a test that will detect every cancer, every time. Many study leaders have financial ties to gene testing companies, and some get royalties for patents on cancer detection methods.

What next?Large trials are now underway in the United States, with CancerSEEK testing being offered to thousands of healthy people.

The test is not available yet, and it could be years until it comes to the market. Read the original article.

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